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  • NamePaul Bril
  • Activity/Titlepainter, draughtsman, printmaker
  • Sexmale
  • Variant namesnamnvariant: Paulus Bril
    namnvariant: Paulo Brilli
    namnvariant: Paul Briel
    namnvariant: Paullebri
  • Nationality/DatesNetherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07
  • PlacesPlace of birth: Antwerpen, Belgien
    Place of death: Rom, Italien
BiographyLandscape painter, draughtsman and printmaker.
The son of the painter Matthijs Bril I and brother
of the painter Matthijs Bril II, Paul was one of the
most gifted and influential landscape painters of his
time. According to Van Mander (1604), Paul studied
at Antwerp with Damiaen Wortelmans, before travelling
to Rome, via Lyon, ca.1574. Reaching Rome by
1582, Paul joined his elder brother Matthijs, whom,
according to Baglione (1642), he assisted in painting
decorative landscape frescoes in the Vatican Palace. In
1582 he joined the Roman Accademia di San Luca, of
which he was subsequently named principe (president)
in 1620. Paul was able to capitalize on contacts with
influential individuals that had already been established
by his brother and these initial contacts served
him well throughout his career. After Matthijs’ premature
death in 1583, Paul succeeded him on many
papal commissions both in the Vatican and in various
churches and villas in and around Rome. Unlike the
majority of travelling artists, particularly landscape
specialists, he enjoyed a steady patronage of popes,
members of the curia and the Roman aristocracy, as
well as wealthy Northern merchants. His work was
avidly collected by such patrons as Cardinal Federico
Borromeo in Milan, Cardinal Carlo de’Medici in Florence
and Duke Ferdinando Gonzaga in Mantua.
Apart from a possible visit to Naples c.1602–1603, he
spent the remainder of his life in Rome.
Paul’s first known independent works are monumental
frescoes, from the late 1580s, in the Scala
Santa of the Vatican and in the Lateran Palace.
Among his important early commissions were a fresco
cycle of c. 1599 in S. Cecilia in Trastevere, depicting
hermit saints praying in wooded landscapes, and a
monumental seascape, the Martyrdom of St. Clement
of c. 1600–1602/1603, painted together with the
brothers Giovanni and Cherubino Alberti, in the Vatican
Palace’s Sala Clementina for Pope Clement VIII.
In the 1590s, he also began painting small-sized landscapes,
on copper and canvas, for private collectors,
often depicting subjects that he and his brother had
rendered earlier on a monumental scale: tempestuous
seascapes; hermits in the wilderness; travelling pilgrims;
hunters and fishermen; Roman townscapes
with ancient ruins. The landscapes from his early
period derive their vocabulary largely from the
Netherlandish tradition inaugurated by Joachim
Patinir and Pieter Bruegel I. After c. 1600, influenced
by the German painter Adam Elsheimer, whom he
befriended in Rome around 1600, and by Annibale
Carracci and his followers, Bril gradually discarded
the typical Mannerist stylizations of the late 16th century
for the more naturalistic and balanced compositions
of the emergent Baroque. His works from this
period have lower horizons and flatter, less abrupt
transitions from foreground to background through
gently rising diagonals and a more subtle rendering of
light. They often contain pastoral or bucolic figures
and settings and mythological subjects.
Among the community of foreign landscape artists
working in Rome in the late 16th and early 17th centuries,
Bril became a pivotal figure. Financial security
allowed him to establish a large workshop, which
became the focal point of contact and potential
employment for other Northern artists in Rome. Bril’s
landscapes had a deep and lasting effect on his pupils
and followers, including Willem van Nieulandt II,
Agostino Tassi, Cornelis van Poelenburch and Claude
Landscape with Duck-hunters
  • Landscape with Duck-hunters

  • Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: (h x b) 100 x 146 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 136 x 183 x 14 cm
  • Copy after: Paul Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07
  • NM 375
Moonlight Landscape
  • Moonlight Landscape

  • Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: (h x b) 23 x 31 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 26 x 34 x 3 cm
  • Artist: Paul Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07. Circle of
    Artist: Mathijs Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1547 - 1550, dead 1583-06-08. Circle of
    Former attribution: Paul Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07. Circle of
  • NM 377
  • Berglandskap

  • Dimensions: (h x b) 20 x 27,2 cm
  • Artist: Paul Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07
  • NMH 405/1973
Landscape with Satyrs and Nymphs
Hamnstycke med borg och klippa. Landskap med figurer
Träbro med man och gosse. Ur "Landskap med figurer" 36 blad
Hamnstycke med tornruin. Ur "Landskap med figurer" 36 blad
Landscape with a Church
  • Landscape with a Church

  • Oil on copper
  • Dimensions: (h x b) 25 x 34 cm
    Frame: (h x b x dj) 43 x 50 x 6 cm
  • Artist: Marten Rijckaert, born before 1587-12-08, dead 1631-10. Attributed to
    Former attribution: Jan Bruegel d.ä., Flemish, born 1568, dead 1625. Circle of
    Former attribution: Paul Bril, Netherlands, born ca 1553 - 1554, dead 1626-10-07
  • NM 2721
Italienate Landscape with Ruins and “Boules” Players
Landscape with Nymphs and Satyrs